INTERVIEW: Tiamat and significant reduction of dredging costs

The last decade witnessed an increasing level of attention to sustainability and sustainable development across all sectors all over the world, including the dredging industry.

Also, the dredging industry has vital roles in the global sustainability transition and the dredging community has to work on improving the image and reputation of this sector.

Sustainable dredging means acting in a way that is not harmful to the planet, preserves natural resources, and thus supports long-term ecological balance.

Digging through the latest innovations from the dredging world, we found out that the Harwich Haven Authority (HHA) recently introduced Tiamat – a new environmentally friendly dredging solution.

The commercialization of this technology will be through a newly incorporated, and wholly owned subsidiary of HHA, Haven Dredging Ltd.

Enough reasons for Dredging Today to caught up with Mr. Jake Storey, the Executive Director of Haven Dredging and CFO of Harwich Haven Authority, to find out more about the latest developments in these processes.

Mr. Jake Storey

Q: As an introduction to some of our readers who are not familiar with your company’s background, what can you tell us about your business, the beginnings and where is Haven Dredging today?

Mr. Storey: Haven Dredging is owned by the Harwich Haven Authority (HHA), a prominent UK trust port created in 1863 that has been dredging the Haven for over 100 years.

HHA faced a challenge with approximately 90% of its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions arising from maintenance dredging, which also accounts for about 25% of its costs. To address these issues, HHA’s Dredging Manager had the idea for, researched and developed Tiamat – a cleaner, greener, cheaper and more environmentally friendly dredging solution.

Officially launched on April 11, 2023, Tiamat is the results of years of robust development and trials by HHA.

The implementation of Tiamat within HHA has resulted in a significant reduction of dredging costs by over 50% on a like-for-like basis, and a substantial decrease in GHG emissions, by up to 65%.

Furthermore, HHA is actively pursuing an ambitious goal of achieving over 90% emission reduction within the next two years. This success has enabled HHA to establish Haven Dredging and offer its innovative technology to other members of the dredging community. photo

Q: Overall, the last couple of years were challenging around the globe in many ways, how did your company sail through that period?

Mr. Storey: Haven Dredging was set-up by HHA, using the cost savings achieved through the utilisation of Tiamat. By establishing Haven Dredging, the organisation has been able to extend the availability of the Tiamat’s innovative technology to ports and dredging companies worldwide.

We understand there are still tough times facing dredging industry, and that customers and suppliers will have face more challenges in the years to come; in particular the journey to net zero and challenging environmental goals. As result, we expect to see the value proposition of Tiamat increase.

Haven Dredging does not intend to be a dredging contractor. Our primary focus is on collaborating with partners around the world to provide Tiamat and other solutions to the broader dredging community, ports, dredging authorities and dredging contractors to help address the challenges that the dredging community faces. photo

Q: What is in the pipeline at the moment and what are the solutions that Haven Dredging team is currently working on?

Mr. Storey: We are in the process of developing various adaptations of Tiamat, tailored to address an array diverse dredging challenges. For example, one variant, known as the “turtle tickler,” is being developed to operate in environments where there are sensitive issues regarding marine life.

Additionally, we have designed an updated version optimised for dredging at great depths within reservoirs, aiming to contribute a solution to the pressing issue of capacity depletion in reservoirs.

Q: Which markets are in the focus of your company, and do you have plans to expand your business areas?

Mr. Storey: Our key focus is UK, Europe and the USA, with trials and contracts progressing. The USACE have commenced a technical evaluation of Tiamat for use in the USA. We also have interest from other parts of the World including the Far East and Australia, and have been granted over 100 patents, worldwide, for Tiamat.

Haven Dredging was also recently invited to join the ORE Catapult’s Launch Academy, which will help to develop our offering in the offshore sector. The ORE Catapult’s Launch Academy is a technology acceleration program designed specifically for innovative businesses within the offshore renewable energy industry. It serves as a platform for nurturing early-stage innovations, offering tailored support, guidance and financial assistance.

This program plays a pivotal role in advancing cutting-edge solutions and fostering collaboration within the offshore renewable energy sector. photo

Q: Do you believe that dredging industry can make a difference in improving the environment’s quality, and what is your opinion on this?

Mr. Storey: The global average age of traditional dredging vessels remains high, a striking observation given the capital-intensive nature of the dredging industry.

While the sector is gradually moving towards the adoption of more fuel-efficient vessels, capable of running on environmentally friendlier fuels, the expense associated with maintaining and replacing the existing dredging fleet, amounts to many billions of US dollars and therefore, presents a huge financial barrier. These costs could be perceived as prohibitively high, making fleet replacement a daunting challenge for the industry.

There are also pressing environmental concerns relating to the disposal of sediment outside estuarine systems. In this context, Tiamat emerges as a valuable asset that can effectively assist the industry and its stakeholders in addressing these challenges.

The ability to use Tiamat on workboats and multicats is a game-changer. It not only enhances cost-efficiency but also underscores a commitment to responsible and sustainable maritime practices. This adaptability ensures that Tiamat can be readily deployed where it’s needed most, and its eco-friendly approach helps mitigate the environmental challenges associated with sediment disposal outside estuarine systems.

In this context, Tiamat emerges as a vital innovation, equipping the industry and its stakeholders with the tools to meet sustainability goals while effectively addressing environmental concerns.

Q: Sustainability now comes in many forms, and as one the companies involved in creating the high-quality dredging solutions, you have knowledge, data and expertise to make a positive difference. What are your priorities when it comes to creating sustainable dredging solutions?

Mr. Storey: Our priorities to creating sustainable dredging solutions centre around innovation and harnessing the energy within water.

Tiamat can be towed by a relatively small work vessel and consists of a frame carrying three pumps. Two pumps are used to inject water into the sediment overlying the bed of the harbour, whilst the third pump extracts the diluted silt and pumps it up a flume, from where it is released into the water column.

However, the pumps configuration; including the number of pumps and size can be scaled so that the Tiamat can be adapted to the dredging problems that needs to be solved.

The silt can be relocated either within the estuarine system on a flood tide or washed out of the harbour on an ebb tide through the natural tidal currents, hence “Dredging With Nature.”

We are developing multiple new adaptations that not only support, but also seamlessly complement Tiamat’s technology. These innovations are designed to cater to various environments, due to the ability to adapt the size and power of Tiamat, including ports, harbours, waterways and reservoirs.

Mr. Jake Storey

Q: What can you tell our readers about Haven Dredging’s most important goals and business plans for the upcoming period?

Mr. Storey: Our primary objectives and strategic plans for the near future revolve around expanding the utilisation of Tiamat.

This expansion is set to encompass not only the key dredging markets worldwide, but also the underrepresented reservoir dredging market, which has historically faced significant technical and cost-related challenges.

Haven Dredging’s pioneering work underscores the potential for industry-wide transformation. Its commitment to sediment retention as a means of reducing costs and lowering GHG emissions advocates for a sustainable and economically viable future.

As we navigate the challenges of the 21st century, this approach demonstrates that dredging can be both cost-effective and environmentally conscious.